Los Angeles Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks: Biggest Takeaways from Game 5
The Ducks have won three straight games in the series after dropping the first two contests at home.
Marian Gaborik scored twice for the Kings, who rallied from a 4-1 deficit on Monday night but couldn't get the tying goal in the final minutes of the game.
The Kings outshot the Ducks, 42-24. The team that had fewer shots on goal has now won four of the five games in this series.
Anaheim now leads the series 3-2 with Game 6 scheduled for Wednesday night in Los Angeles. The Kings will have to win at home, or their season will be over and the Ducks will advance to the Western Conference Final.
Here is a look at the biggest takeaways from Game 5. Feel free to comment on any of the issues discussed here or to add one of your own. As always, indicate why you feel the way you do.
John Gibson Kept His Cool and Came Through for the Ducks
His team didn't play great defense in front of him, but Gibson came up big again for the Anaheim Ducks in Game 5.
The Kings had 14 shots in each period of Monday night's game, but Gibson made 39 saves to improve his record in this year's playoffs to 2-0.
After Gaborik scored to pull the Kings within a goal with five minutes and 48 seconds left in the third period, Gibson shut the door. He made four big saves and never lost his cool in a big-pressure situation.
The 20-year-old Pittsburgh native has helped the Ducks turn this series around.
After Game 5, Kings head coach Darryl Sutter tried to downplay Gibson's value in this series.
"He's the greatest goalie I've ever seen. I can't believe we got one by him tonight." -- Darryl Sutter sarcasm on full-blast, re John Gibson
— Cam Cole (@rcamcole) May 13, 2014
Sarcastic or not, Sutter can't ignore what Gibson has already accomplished for the Ducks in this series.
Marian Gaborik Is Still on a Hot Streak
Gaborik scored twice on Monday night and led the Kings back from a 4-1 deficit. It wasn't quite enough to force overtime, but he got his team back into the game and gave the Kings a chance to win in the final five minutes.
Like most goal scorers, Gaborik tends to be streaky. Right now, he's definitely on a hot streak. In this series, Gaborik has five goals and seven points in five games.
In Game 5, Gaborik had seven shots on goal to lead all players.
The Ducks need to pay attention to Gaborik every time he's on the ice. His skills and experience make him a dangerous player. Gaborik knows where to go on the ice to create scoring chances, and he's been able to convert those opportunities into goals.
As long as Gaborik remains red-hot, the Kings have a chance to win this series.
The Ducks Power Play Cashed in Again
The Ducks power play scored again in Game 5. It has been a consistent force in this series and especially in the last three games that the Ducks have won.
In Game 5, it was Smith-Pelly who tallied with the extra attacker early in the second period. That goal gave the Ducks a lead they never relinquished.
The Ducks also scored once on the power play in Game 4 and went 2-of-2 in Game 3.
Teemu Selanne continues to be effective for the Ducks when they are on the power play. He assisted on Smith-Pelly's goal in Game 5.
The Ducks do a very good job of spacing themselves out when they have the extra attacker, and they have also been getting bodies in front of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.
In a series that has been low-scoring for the most part, producing consistently on the power play has been a difference-maker for Anaheim.
Devante Smith-Pelly Is Gaining Confidence
Smith-Pelly seems to be playing better with each passing game.
The 6'0", 225-pound native of Scarborough, Ontario, scored twice in Game 5 and now has three goals in the last two contests.
Smith-Pelly also had seven hits in Game 5 and now has 23 in the series.
He has earned time on the power play in this series, and coach Bruce Boudreau has also given Smith-Pelly time on the Ducks' top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
You can see the confidence just growing in Smith-Pelly. Turning into a player before our eyes here.
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) May 13, 2014
Smith-Pelly played in only 19 regular-season games for the Ducks this season, but he is rapidly becoming an integral part of the team's success in the playoffs.
Bruce Boudreau Is Pressing All the Right Buttons
Right now, Boudreau has the magic touch. It seems everything he does is working out right for his team.
At various times in the playoffs, Boudreau has benched Selanne, Daniel Winnik and Smith-Pelly. In each case, the player returned to the lineup more determined to prove to Boudreau that he belonged in the lineup and played well.
He has also mixed up his line combinations in the playoffs, which has resulted in just enough offense for his team to win the last three games.
Boudreau's biggest gamble came in Game 4 when he decided to start Gibson in goal over veteran Jonas Hiller after starter Frederik Andersen went down with an injury in the third period of Game 3.
Gibson had never played in an NHL playoff game and had only three games of regular-season experience with the Ducks. Boudreau played a hunch and went with the rookie, and it payed off in a big way.
Gibson earned a shutout in Game 4 and made 39 saves to earn another victory in Game 5.
Right now, it seems whatever Boudreau decides to do is garnering positive results for his team. In a close series, good coaching decisions can make a big difference.